Government reviews taxation of entrepreneurs and the self employed

A review of the taxation of entrepreneurs and the self-employed being undertaken by the Department of Finance will help support those who create the jobs on which the local economy in Clare depends, according to Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy.

The Government review is considering a number of key questions on tax and entrepreneurship, including what role should the tax system play in encouraging entrepreneurship, what existing tax measures are effective in supporting small business and encouraging entrepreneurs, and whether there scope for greater alignment in terms of how the self employed and PAYE taxpayers are treated.  The review also explores what barriers exist to establishing enterprises in the current tax system.

"The purpose of the review is to assess what tax measures are and are not working effectively as well as considering options for change to better incentivise entrepreneurship," stated Senator Mulcahy.

“This review will take a close look at how our tax system can best support the entrepreneurs and self-employed people on whom our economy is so reliant. The businesses they create are fundamental to having a dynamic and competitive economy and they create a huge amount of jobs, the taxation from which funds the running of the State. Around 70% of the workforce in County Clare are employed by SMEs or are self-employed," he added.

“It is vital that we create an economy that supports SMEs and entrepreneurs," stated Senator Mulcahy. "This Government is determined to replace all of the jobs lost under Fianna Fáil with sustainable, long term jobs. In order to achieve this we need strong Irish indigenous industry, and a strong SME sector to create and sustain these jobs. This can be achieved through taking smart, practical taxation measures which support our job creators."


At Last - JUSTICE !
Minister Fitzgerald publishes heads of new Domestic Violence Bill
“Domestic violence persists as true horror in too many homes in 21st Century Ireland” - Minister Fitzgerald
• Reformed and consolidated Domestic Violence Bill delivers on Programme for Government commitment
• New bill will improve the protections available to victims of domestic violence, making it much easier for victims to obtain interim barring orders.
• Reforms will bring Ireland a stop closer to ratifying the Istanbul Convention
Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, has today published the heads and general scheme of the new Domestic Violence Bill. The general scheme has been approved by Government. The preparation of reformed and consolidated legislation on domestic violence delivers on a Programme for Government commitment.”
The Minister said: “Domestic violence persists as true horror in too many homes in 21st Century Ireland. In addition, too many incidents of domestic violence still go unreported. Too many victims are afraid to come forward.
“I hope my new Domestic Violence Bill will help in tackling this horror head-on and giving fresh hope to victims that they are not alone.
“Protecting and supporting victim has been a key priority for me as Minister for Justice. This new legislation to protect and support victims of domestic violence builds on the broader Criminal Justice (Victims of Crime) Bill, which I announced last week.”
“This new bill will particularly improve the protections available to victims of domestic violence, most critically for those victims in crisis situations, making it much easier for them to obtain interim barring orders. The Bill will remove of the requirement that a person must have at least an equal interest in a property to apply for an interim barring order (for 8 working days) in an emergency or crisis situation.”
The Minister added: “This new bill will also make the courts process easier for victims of domestic violence.”
“The reforms proposed will help a victim through the court process. A victim will have the right to be accompanied to court by a family member or friend. A victim or a witness will be able to give evidence by televisual link so as to reduce the risk of intimidation. There will be limits on those entitled to attend the court proceedings so as to make it easier for a victim to give evidence and so as to reduce the risk of intimidation. The victim’s anonymity will be protected except where the victim chooses otherwise.”
The principal improvements proposed in the Bill are as follows:
• Access to an interim barring order for 8 working days in an emergency or crisis situation will be extended. The person will no longer have to have a greater or equal property interest in the property from which the perpetrator is being barred.
• A victim will be able to bring a friend, family member or support worker into court to support her or him during proceedings.
• It will be possible for a victim to give evidence by televisual link to avoid the risk of intimidation by the perpetrator or an associate.
• The court will be able to appoint an expert to ascertain the views of a child where an order is sought on behalf of, or will partly relate to, the child.
• There will be restrictions on the categories of person allowed to be in court during these proceedings, so that the victim will not have to give evidence, potentially of a distressing nature, before a large number of strangers.
• The Courts Service will be required to give information to the victim on referrals to support services.
• The anonymity of the victim, dependants and of the perpetrator will be protected in criminal proceedings for breaches of orders, other than where the victim chooses not to be anonymous. This provision is intended to protect the privacy of a victim. However, the media will be able to report on these proceedings, providing that they respect the obligations concerning anonymity.
• It will be possible to bar a perpetrator from communicating with the victim electronically.
• Provisions on domestic violence will be brought together in one piece of legislation to make the legislation easier to use.
The Minister added that the enactment of the Domestic Violence Bill will also represent a major step forward on the road to Ireland’s ratification of Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, more commonly known as the Istanbul Convention. The Minister intends to seek Government approval for Ireland to sign the Istanbul Convention in the Autumn.
The Minister concluded: “It is in the interests of victims that we get this legislation drafted and enacted as soon as possible.”
Note for the editor: The General Scheme of a reformed and consolidated Domestic Violence Bill was approved by Government on 14 July. It incorporates the provisions outlined above and consolidates the provisions contained in the Domestic Violence Act 1996, the Domestic Violence (Amendment) Act 2002, the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010, the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011, the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 and the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015.
The General Scheme is being referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality for pre-legislative scrutiny and to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for formal drafting of the Bill.


Community fund application process to open July 1st

Clare Fine Gael Senator, Tony Mulcahy says a €5m Government fund will be opened to community and voluntary sector organisations fromWednesday, July 1st next.

The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) together with the Department of Social Protection (DSP) and the Department of Health (DOH) are sponsoring the Dormant Accounts Fund, which is being made available to provide a range of supports for disadvantaged groups and local communities.

According to Senator Mulcahy: "This vitally important fund is aimed at financing eight Measures that promote youth employment; supports for home carers; capital grants for social enterprises; initiatives to prevent substance misuse; and supports for people with disabilities."

"The Fund will be open to eligible community and voluntary sector organisations, local development companies and statutory and other public agencies from 1st July with a closing date of 22nd July 2015. Applications will be sought from eligible organisations under the Measures, which will be administered and managed by Pobal."

Full details on each of the Measures and the online application process are available on the Dormant Accounts Fund page at


Shannon to stage dazzling airshow to celebrate 70thanniversary of first commercial transatlantic flight
Acts from across Europe to delight huge crowds with sky acrobatics and dare-devil feats
Family fun day to also include wide array of free activities on the ground
Wednesday, 03 June 2015:   Shannon Airport will deliver an air display extravaganza on July 18th to mark a key milestone in Irish aviation history – the 70th anniversary of the first commercial transatlantic flight at the airport.
An estimated 40,000 people are expected at the airport for the airshow.
The airshow will provide a visual treat from some of Ireland and Europe’s leading aerobatics performers, parachutists, helicopters, jet fighters and stunt fliers during the six hour event.
In addition to the sky manoeuvres on the day, there will be plenty of on-the-ground action, including a static aircraft and tank display, entertainment zone, live music and a catering zone with an array of dining choices.
The entertainment area will be especially geared to children, with activities to include a bungee run, obstacle course, a 30ft spider climber, a party-bouncer, a giant Jenga game, puppet shows, a 40 seater carousel, face painters, magicians, a nail art station and much, much more.
Arrangements are well advanced for the airshow, which will see the attendance pass through specially installed access points to the airfield, from where they will view the airshow and enjoy an array of family fun festivities. Some 4km of fencing will be put in place around the airfield as well as creating access two vehicular access points and a pedestrian entry.
Tickets for the event will cost just €5 and are available now on Eventbrite - –  children under 6 years are free and all activities on the airfield are free and ticket-holders will also be entitled to free access that weekend to a choice of either Bunratty Castle, King John’s Castle or Craggaunowen visitor attractions.
The Shannon line-up will include the Blacknights, the most successful parachute team to ever come out of Ireland and involving members made up from army, air corps and navy.   The Iolar, which is a replica of the original aircraft that heralded the founding of Aer Lingus in 1936, and the Chipmunks, a popular training aircraft for both civil and military aviation, will also perform.
Among those also displaying their air skills will be the Norweigan Airforce with its ‘historical squad’, which will bring the Mig-15 for its first ever visit to Shannon. The RAF Hunter Jet, first flown in 1955, will also be performing.  O’Brien’s Flying Circus, one of the UK’s most daredevil acts, will also thrill audiences with their crazy stunts, including landing on a moving trailer at 55mph.
The airshow will celebrate the anniversary of the first ever scheduled commercial transatlantic passenger plane which landed at Shannon Airport on 24th October 1945. The aircraft was the ‘Flagship London’, an American Overseas Airline (AOA) DC4 which was flew from Gander to Shannon in 8 hours 20 minutes. 
From that time on, Shannon became synonymous not only with aviation in Ireland but globally as it became the original airport gateway between the US and Europe and went on to achieve a number of global firsts for aviation, including being the birthplace of Duty Free.  Today it operates services to 33 destinations across the UK, Europe and the US. 
Looking ahead to the airshow, Shannon Airport Chairman Rose Hynes said, “This is an important year for us and we have a number of events marking this very special anniversary but the airshow is most definitely one of the highlights.  It allows us mark the first commercial transatlantic flight at Shannon, which took place 70 years ago this year, a hugely significant event in Irish aviation.
“We are very proud of our place in global aviation and it is right that we honour that history in style with the festivities in Shannon on July 18th .and giving due recognition to the pioneers of 70 years ago who thought it possible to create an airport here in Shannon that would play a key role in Ireland’s economic development.”  
Said Airport Operations Director Niall Maloney:  “It is 25 years since we last had an airshow here at Shannon and our ultimate aim in staging our 2015 airshow is to provide an exciting, action packed day of fun and entertainment with plenty of thrills for all.
“Shannon is very much a family airport so we have put a major emphasis also on developing a strong family fun programme for the event, not least in terms of providing a range of activities for children to enjoy.  There will be plenty to see in the skies but a whole lot for them to enjoy on the ground also so there’s much to look forward to.


Beef Data and Genomics Programme deadline extended

Clare Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy is reminding farmers in the county that the deadline for submitting applications to the Beef Data and Genomics Programme has been extended to next Friday 5th June.

An estimated 15,000 farmers have already applied for the Beef Data and Genomics Programme.

Senator Mulcahy commented: “I know that some beef farmers had concerns around the flexibility of being in a six year programme. However the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, has highlighted that many farmers have more land than is needed to qualify for the full payment under the scheme and so there won’t be compliance issues if they are to sell off or lease some of their land within the six-year time period."

“Where the land is sold, leased, gifted or willed, the obligations of the scheme will transfer to the new owner," he added.

Farmers with any queries in relation to the scheme should read the Frequently Asked Questions document on the Department of Agriculture’s website, or to contact the Department directly on Lo-call 1890 200 510 or 01 607 2000.


Irish Water must expedite Shannon wastewater infrastructure improvements - Mulcahy
Clare Senator Tony Mulcahy has said that Irish Water's commitment to improving wastewater infrastructure in Shannon and Bunratty is "not before time" and he called on the water utility company to expedite the process.
The Shannon-based Senator's comments follow the announcement by Irish Water of how it intends addressing a number of historical issues with the wastewater infrastructure in the area, including the longstanding odour nuisances associated with the infrastructure in Shannon Town.
Irish Water is currently undertaking a number of briefings with residents, the local business community and elected representatives, to update them on the proposed works.
Senator Mulcahy said he hoped that the cleaning and surveying of sewers in the Shannon Town area would happen as quickly as possible after which he said long term fixes should be considered to ensure the odour nuisance does not reoccur.
He said: "For many years, I have raised the issue of substandard wastewater infrastructure in the wider Shannon area. The residents of Shannon have been given few answers as to the source of the odour nuisance. A definitive answer remains outstanding on this issue. I also believe that the inadequate infrastructure has acted as a disincentive to companies considering locating to or expanding in the area."
"I look forward to a full and frank period of consultation between the public, elected representatives and Irish Water ahead of contracts being prepared for the construction of a new two-kilometre sewer in Shannon, the cleaning and surveying of sewers in the area, and sampling and analysis of the broader network. It is important that Irish Water is left in no doubt as to the concerns of those who live and work in the area so as to ensure this issue can be put to bed once and for all," concluded Senator Mulcahy.



The fact that the world's largest airline is once again operating out of Shannon Airport will send a clear message to all other airlines that Shannon is very much open for business.  I warmly welcome the return after a 13 years absence of the flag of American Airlines on the runway here in Clare. Operating from today until mid -October, the Shannon to Philadelphia service will deliver an additional 114 flights in comparison to last year when the route was served under the US Airways brand.

This extended summer service will deliver a significant influx of tourists from the US East coast and regions served by Philadelphia's main airport. It also provides wonderful onward connectivity for people from this side of the Atlantic travelling to other parts of the USA as Philadelphia is an American Airlines hub.

I want to congratulate the management at the airport for their wonderful work in seeking new business. I also hope that this service will be further extended in the near future.


Funding approved for Doolin coastal study

Clare Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy says that funding has been approved for a coastal erosion and flood risk management study along a 1.5km stretch of coastline in Doolin.

Senator Mulcahy was informed by Minister of State, Simon Harris T.D. today that the study will cover the length of coastline shown from Crab Island, located south of Doolin Point, to the mouth of the River Aille.

"Doolin was badly affected by the succession of storms that battered the county during the period from late December 2013 to February 2014. The carpark area and access road to the pier were particularly badly affected. In light of the shortly to be completed €6m pier at Doolin, it is imperative that steps be now taken to minimise the risk of flood damage in the future," stated Senator Mulcahy.

"This funding announcement is particularly welcome considering it follows on foot of an announcement by Government last week of a similar coastal erosion and flood risk study for the section of coast from Quilty to Milltown Malbay with particular focus on Quilty, Spanish Point and Whitestrand. The section of coast in question, which includes Seafield, was one of the worst affected by serious tidal flooding and storm damage last year," added Senator Mulcahy.


Shannon Group makes positive start as first annual report shows all units of business achieving progress
Group targeting sustained growth, significant reinvestment and cost containment/efficiencies
Thursday, April 30, 2015:  Shannon Group plc has delivered significant progress on key objectives set for 2014 and is now embarking on a programme to address group-wide underinvestment and improve cost efficiencies, its first annual report has revealed.
The inaugural report covers the four month financial period from the establishment of the Group on 5 September to 31 December 2014. The Group’s  four strategic business units – Shannon Airport, Shannon Heritage, Shannon Commercial Properties and the International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) – have, however, been working together throughout 2014, prior to the Groups official formation.
The Group, which employs over 600 people in high season, recorded a €21.1 million turnover in its first four months and returned a post-tax profit of €600,000, which, Chairman Rose Hynes said, amounted to a satisfactory result given that this period is off-peak for the Airport and Shannon Heritage.
Ms Hynes stated that the Group is working to a five-year strategic plan aimed at continued revenue growth, continued focus on innovation, securing a sustainable cost base through efficiencies and achieving profit growth at each of the four separate business units. The plan also incorporates an ambitious capital investment programme to ensure the Group remains firmly focused on delivering growth opportunities, which will be essential to maintain the competitiveness of the Group’s business.
“Through the generation of sustainable growth and profitability across all of our businesses and by the implementation of our five-year strategic plan, combined with an ongoing focus on innovation, I am confident that Shannon Group will make an enduring positive impact on our communities and the economic landscape of Ireland,” she said.
“Cost containment and improving financial performance through further efficiencies remain an ongoing focus for the Group. Our aim is to establish a more sustainable and robust business model and to improve our profitability across the Group.”
Commenting on the Group results, CEO Neil Pakey, “As we continue our task of building on the momentum and solid achievements of 2014, I believe the combination of our four strategic business units within a single group will unlock opportunities for further co-operation and synergies.
“Taking advantage of these synergies will be important as we strive to enable Shannon Group to fulfil its potential and become an important conduit for stimulating growth across the regional and national economy in the years ahead. It is vital the Groups’ businesses are competitive within the European marketplace. Our transformation must continue to evolve this year with emphasis on change, continuous improvement and improved efficiencies, combined with ensuring we continue to build the platform for the future sustainability of Shannon Group.
“With the creation of our five-year strategic plan, we now have a road map on which to build an exciting and sustainable future.”
Shannon Airports profitability for the full financial year 2014 improved considerably, with earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of €4.6 million, an increase of 34% on 2013.  Addressing historic underinvestment in airport infrastructure also began in 2014 through a €4.4million airport capital expenditure programme. Among these projects were an airport runway overlay upgrade, fire safety upgrade works, a new retail IT system and a new traffic management system. 
The airport continued its growth trajectory with a significant increase in passenger numbers (17%) and improvements in connectivity for the second successive year. European traffic showed the largest gains with a 70% increase. Transatlantic traffic continued to perform strongly, increasing by 10% and UK traffic recorded a 5% increase.  The Group’s intention to develop a cargo hub at the airport was also boosted this week by Turkish Airlines, through its subsidiary Turkish Cargo, who announced that it is to commence Ireland’s only direct all-cargo air service to North America from Shannon.
Shannon Airport first welcomed Turkish Airlines in early March this year when the airline began making refuelling stops at the airport. Turkish Airlines will now operate a new weekly Shannon–Chicago service on Fridays through its cargo subsidiary Turkish Cargo, significantly boosting options for Irish exporters, from multi-nationals to SMEs.
Shannon Heritage, the companys heritage visitor attraction business, also experienced a positive year, with an overall 11% increase in visitor numbers in its portfolio of visitor attractions and entertainment venues throughout the wider Shannon region and in Dublin. The company recorded over 637,000 visitors in 2014, with admission numbers to day visitor attractions up over 13%.
Shannon Heritage reported turnover of €11.9 million for the full financial year ended 31 December 2014, a 7.6% increase on the previous year, reflecting its best operational year since 2007.  These results show a clear correlation with passenger growth at Shannon Airport.
Shannon Commercial Properties’ operating profit from continuing activities and before impairments for the full financial year 2014 amounted to €0.6 million versus a loss of €1.6 million in 2013.  Shannon Commercial Properties also undertook a detailed review of its property portfolio and put in place a business plan to enhance its portfolio commencing with significant investment that is required for the redevelopment of key areas within the Shannon Free Zone (SFZ).
The Group is continuing to address the historic underinvestment in Shannon Commercial Properties’ infrastructure. When the Group inherited the property portfolio there was a low overall building occupancy rate, a challenge that the Group is actively working to resolve.  A key initiative in addressing this will be the implementation of a capital investment programme in the years ahead to enable it to have available property solutions for investment and job creation in an improving economy.
IASC has been established to build on the existing network of aviation related services in Shannon in order to continue to grow the existing globally recognised and internationally competitive aviation cluster. The core IASC team was assembled during the year and work is underway to build relationships with international partner companies and key players in the global aerospace industry.


Senator seeks lowering of legal starting age in Irish education system
Clare Fine Gael Senator Tony Mulcahy has proposed that the legal starting age in the Irish education system for a child be reduced to 3 years of age in order to extend special education support services to preschool-going children.
Senator Mulcahy was speaking in Seanad Éireann this week in response to an address to the upper house by Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan in which she outlined the proposed introduction of a new inclusion support service to assist schools in supporting children with special educational needs.
Administered by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), the service will include the special education support service which provides training for schools in how to assist pupils with special educational needs, as well as the national behaviour support service which provides guidance and support to schools in dealing with behavioural issues. Until now these support services have been managed separately within the Department of Education.
"No one in society should be denied the right to go to preschool because they cannot get the special education support services they need," Senator Mulcahy said in response to Minister O'Sullivan's address.
He commented: "We have children in preschools with challenging behaviour getting six hours of special education support services, provided by Health Service Executive, meaning that they must stay at home for three out of five school days each week. Once a child enters the educational system, there should be a line from start to finish which they follow as part of the education process. A child with special needs requires 24 hours, seven days a week support."
Senator Mulcahy, whose daughter has special needs, said he believed the starting age in the education system for a child should be when they enter preschool at the age of three.
"Education should start at preschool right through to the end. It must be about the child’s ability, not their disability. This must be done through the one Department. I have already spoken to the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Deputy James Reilly, who provides some funding in this area too. I propose we streamline children's movement into primary school and further streamline it when they go into second and third level education. There should be one single channel," said Senator Mulcahy
"The managers and providers of preschool services may identify a need for dealing with challenging behaviour which the parents may not have noted themselves or accepted. There are children who may not be allowed to avail of preschool because they may not have a support for dealing with challenging behaviour and the service provider may not be able to deal with the matter. Service providers are passionate about what they do. They are not looking for supports that are not a necessity but this area has to be addressed," he concluded.


Tony Mulcahy

Tony Mulcahy

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